Plymouth, MN Real Estate News

By David Kosmecki
(American Pacific Mortgage)
With housing prices down across the country, there are a lot of homeowners in Minneapolis barely breaking even on their respective home sales. Some are even losing money. You may find yourself in that position, too; wanting to sell, but worried about bringing cash to your own closing. It creates an interesting dilemma. You want your home to "show nicely" relative to comparable properties, but you don't want to invest big dollars that may never be recouped into upgrades or renovations. So what do you do? The answer is simple. Do the bare minimum. From an advice piece in the Wall Street Journal, we learn of 10 basic home improvement projects that will help your home have better showings. The advice requires almost no technical skills, and the projects be tackled in a weekend. The theme? H...
Comments 1
By David Kosmecki
(American Pacific Mortgage)
  Standard & Poors released its Case-Shiller Index for the month of January this week. The index is a home valuation tool, measuring the monthly and annual changes in home prices in select cities nationwide. January's Case-Shiller Index gave a poor showing. As compared to December 2010, home values dropped in 19 of the Case-Shiller Index's 20 tracked markets. Only Washington, D.C. gained. The results were only modestly better on an annual basis, too. 18 of 20 markets worsened in the 12 months ending January 2011. According to the report, values are down 3.1% from last year, retreating to the same levels from Summer 2003. As a buyer or seller in today's market, though, don't read too much into it. The Case-Shiller Index is far too flawed to be the final word in housing. The index has 3 m...
Comments 1
By David Kosmecki
(American Pacific Mortgage)
On a seasonally-adjusted basis, the Pending Home Sales Index rose 2 percent last month, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. A "pending home sale" is defined as a home under contract to sell, but not yet closed. February's Pending Home Sales Index rebound breaks a 2-month losing streak, and reverses the recent downward momentum in housing. Both Existing Home Sales and New Home Sales volume showed a sizable loss last month.  For buyers and sellers of real estate in Minneapolis , the Pending Home Sales Index is of particular import. It's one of the few forward-looking indicators in housing, and February's data suggests a stronger spring season than was the winter. Region-by-region, Pending Home Sales data varied: Northeast Region: -10.9% Midwest Region : +4.0% South Region...
Comments 1
By David Kosmecki
(American Pacific Mortgage)
Mortgage markets worsened last week as nuclear meltdown concerns eased across Japan, and the war within Libya moved closer to a potential finish. Wall Street voted with its dollars, and a return to risk-taking emerged. "Safe haven" buying softened last week and, as a result, conforming mortgage rates in Wisconsin made their biggest 1-week spike since late-January. Mortgage rates remain historically low, but well above their November 2010 lows. This week, rates could run higher again. Friday's jobs report is a major story and it will affect mortgage rates in Plymouth and across the country. Jobs are a key component of the nation's economic recovery, and as the economy has improved, mortgage rates have tended to rise. Economists expect that 190,000 jobs were created in March. If they're c...
Comments 1
  It's a great time for Minneapolis buyers and homeowners to look at the 15-year fixed rate mortgage. According to Freddie Mac's weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey, the relative "discount" of a 15-year fixed rate loan as compared to a comparable 30-year product is the largest in recorded history. The interest rate spread between the two benchmark products is now 0.77%, nearly double the recent, 5-year average of 0.44%. Despite its lower rates, however, homeowners that opt for a 15-year fixed mortgage should be prepared for higher monthly payments. This is because the principal balance of a 15-year fixed is repaid in half as many years as with a 30-year amortizing product. The payment increase is 41% higher at today's rates. If you can manage that, though, you'll reap dramatic interes...
Comments 1
By David Kosmecki
(American Pacific Mortgage)
Sales of newly-built homes plunged 17 percent to an seasonally-adjusted, annualized 250,000 units in February, and the supply of new homes rose to 8.9 months in February - a 1.5 month jump from January. It's the lowest New Home Sales reading in recorded history, according to the Census Bureau, and the third straight report to signal that home values may be slow to rise in Minneapolis and nationwide this season. Earlier this week, the National Association of REALTORS® reported Existing Home Sales down 10 percent from February, and the Federal Home Finance Agency said home values slipped 0.3 percent between December and January. The media has picked up on the trend, too.  No Spring In Housing's Step (WSJ) Is Housing Really In Recovery (CNBC) Experts See Weak Recovery (UPI) There's two int...
Comments 0
By David Kosmecki
(American Pacific Mortgage)
Home sales data is easing so far in this calendar year. Home resales and new construction have dropped to multi-month lows and, in many cities, home supplies are rising. One housing sector that's not slowing, however, is rentals. The rental market is booming. As reported by the Wall Street Journal, the average apartment vacancy rate is 6.6% nationwide, down from 8.0% last year. In addition, the number of occupied apartments rose by more during Q4 2010 than during any comparable period of the last 10 years. It's a major reason why rents are up 2.3%. Some areas, however, fared worse than others. This study of rent increases as published on MSNBC, for example, lists the 10 U.S. cities in which rents increased the most last year. And they may not be the cities you'd expect. In order: Greenv...
Comments 2
By David Kosmecki
(American Pacific Mortgage)
Existing Home Sales fell 10 percent last month, according to a report from the National Association of REALTORS®. On an annual basis, 4.88 million homes were sold in February - the first time annualized home resales dropped below 5,000,000 since November 2010. An "existing home" is one that's not considered new construction. And it's not just sales volume that's down. Home inventory is higher, too. At the current pace of sales, the number of months needed to sell the complete home resale inventory rose by 1.1 months, to 8.6 months nationally. It's the biggest one-month jump in supply since July 2010 - the month after last year's federal home buyer tax credit program expired. The data is somewhat unexpected, too. NAR's Pending Home Sales report is a reliable predictor for the housing mar...
Comments 0
By David Kosmecki
(American Pacific Mortgage)
Mortgage markets improved again last week despite an inflation-acknowledging statement from the FOMC and stronger-than-expected jobless data. Usually, events like this would lead mortgage rates higher, but violence in the Middle East and worsening fear for public safety in Japan took center stage instead, spurring a massive, global flight-to-quality instead. Rate shoppers in Plymouth  benefited. As safe haven buying increased last week, conforming mortgage rates dropped, falling to their lowest levels since January. It marked the 5th straight week through which mortgage rates improved and is the longest such streak since August 2010. This week, rates may run lower again. You may not want to gamble on it, though. Here's why. In general, when there's inflation in the U.S. economy, mortgag...
Comments 0
By Chad Ronning, Conventional, FHA, VA, USDA
(Guaranteed Rate Mortgage)
So finally we get some Good news, home sales are up 5.7% in Plymouth, MN but there's a catch the MN statewide median sales price is down 8%! In the south central and northwest regions sales through February rose more than 25% which is a huge improvement year over year. Good news, home sales are up 5.7% in Plymouth, MN but there's a catch So what does this data tells us?? That there are still buyers in this market but the sellers are mostly foreclosures and/or shortsales and that means that values and prices will continue to drop.  Most data I have read is that prices will fall again in 2011 between 10-20 percent from last year!  If you are a buyer in this market you are one lucky duck because you are not only buying your house on the cheap but you are financing at historically low inter...
Comments 0
By Chad Ronning, Conventional, FHA, VA, USDA
(Guaranteed Rate Mortgage)
Spring starts tomorrow on Monday, March 21st 2011 It hard to believe that Spring starts tomorrow on Monday, March 21st 2011 already.  In Minnesota we had a good old fashioned winter the likes of which I haven't seen since the early 1990's. I have read that we had over 70 inches of snow this season which is almost 6 feet! Real estate sales are really starting to pick up now which is alway nice and with interest rates on the downward trend again we should be in good shape to have a strong start to the Spring market. Spring starts tomorrow on Monday, March 21st 2011 If you are looking to purchase a home with FHA financing you have approximately 30 days to find a house and get your FHA case # pulled prior to April 18th when monthly mortgage insurance premiums will jump .25% from .9% of the ...
Comments 3
By Chad Ronning, Conventional, FHA, VA, USDA
(Guaranteed Rate Mortgage)
Buying a home in Maple Grove or Plymouth, MN and need a mortgage ? Are you Buying a home in Maple Grove or Plymouth, MN and need a mortgage ? Then you need to call me so I can tell you why I should be your loan officer.  Here are just a few reasons: My company Guaranteed Rate closed 6.9 Billion dollars in mortgages last year and this is important to you because that volume means a lower interest rate for you. We locally underwrite all of your mortgages in Bloomington which means our underwriters understand the local maket and therefore you will have a much smoother process. I have personally been a loan officer for 10 years and have closed over $200,000,000 in mortgage volume in this time so I know the ins and outs of how to get you the best mortgage with the lowest cost. I understand t...
Comments 0
By Chad Ronning, Conventional, FHA, VA, USDA
(Guaranteed Rate Mortgage)
Breaking the 10,000 point barrier with Activerain I joined Activerain about 4 years ago and did absolutely nothing with my account until about a month ago when my phone rang with a lead from an old classmate that found me online by Googling me and seeing my Activerain profile. This phone call turned into a loan I am closing next week and was the beginning of my Activerain journey which today has me Breaking the 10,000 point barrier with Activerain I realized the moment I got of the phone with that client that by not fully tapping into this resource I was leaving business and paychecks on the table. I started writing a daily blog and accumulating points and paying attention to my stats and moving up in the ranks in my state, county and local city and as you read this blog I am officially...
Comments 5
Today, for the second straight meeting, the Federal Open Market Committee voted unanimously to leave the Fed Funds Rate unchanged within its target range of 0.000-0.250 percent. The vote was 10-0. In its press release, the FOMC noted that since its January 2011 meeting, the economic recovery "is on firming footing", and that the labor markets are "improving gradually". In addition, household spending "continues to expand". Nonetheless, the Fed said, the economy remains constrained by rising commodity prices and the "depressed" housing sector. The FOMC statement also re-affirms the group's plan to keep the Fed Funds Rate near zero percent "for an extended period", and to keep its $600 billion bond market support package - more commonly called "QE2″ - intact. And, lastly, for the third st...
Comments 1
By David Kosmecki
(American Pacific Mortgage)
The Federal Open Market Committee meets today in Washington D.C. The FOMC is a special group within the Federal Reserve, led by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, and consisting of 12 members. The FOMC's official schedule calls for 8 meetings annually at which it reviews the nation's economic and financial conditions, and chooses whether to change existing monetary policy. The group's last rendez-vous was a 2-day affair, January 25-26, 2011. Today's FOMC meeting represents a bona fide risk to home buyers and rate shoppers in Maple Grove and across the country. This is because when the Fed meets, Wall Street gets nervous which, in turn, causes mortgage rates to get volatile. And, as mortgage rates go, so goes home affordability.  Rate shoppers learned this the hard way after the FOMC's last meet...
Comments 0
By David Kosmecki
(American Pacific Mortgage)
Mortgage markets improved last week in a week of few economic releases. The one major data point - Retail Sales - showed stronger-than-expected, but markets reacted mildly. The report's strength was whispered in advance of the actual release; its reading validated Wall Street's growing faith in the U.S. economy. Most action last week revolved around the Middle East: Libya's internal turmoil continued Bahrain clashes intensified Saudi Arabia's citizens planned a Day of Rage In response to these events, Wall Street continued its flight-to-quality. Mortgage-backed bonds are now at their best levels since early-February. Mortgage rates have improved 4 straight weeks. Unfortunately for rate shoppers in Minnesota , the gains have been meager. Conforming mortgage rates have only dropped slight...
Comments 0
By David Kosmecki
(American Pacific Mortgage)
FHA Streamline Refinance guidelines are changing. For the better. In an effort to improve its loan portfolio, the FHA is loosening approval standards on its popular refinance program, rendering large groups of homeowners suddenly FHA Streamline-eligible. Now, that may seem counter-intuitive - lowering qualification standards in order to reduce loan defaults - but in the FHA's case, it makes complete sense. It's because the FHA doesn't make loans. It insures them. What's good for FHA-insured homeowners is good for the FHA, therefore. All things equal, lower housing payments for its insured homeowners should correlate to fewer FHA loan defaults in Minnesota and   nationwide. One interesting facet of the FHA's new rulebook is the manner in which the government group is applying common sens...
Comments 1
By David Kosmecki
(American Pacific Mortgage)
Beginning April 1, 2011, Fannie Mae is increasing its loan-level pricing adjustments. Conforming mortgage applicants in Wisconsin should plan for higher loan costs in the months ahead. If you've never heard of loan-level pricing adjustments, you're not alone; they're an obscure mortgage pricing metric and, thus, are rarely covered by the media. That doesn't make them any less relevant, however. LLPAs are mandatory closing costs assessed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, designed to offset a given loan's risk of default. LLPAs were first introduced in April 2009. This April's amendment is the 6th increase in 2 years. LLPAs can be costly. In addition to an up-front, quarter-percent fee applied to all loans, there are 5 additional "risk categories" in the LLPA equation: Credit Score : Lower F...
Comments 0
By David Kosmecki
(American Pacific Mortgage)
April 15 is the traditional due date for federal income taxes. It's a deadline so ingrained in the American psyche that the April 15 calendar date is often called, simply, "Tax Day". In 2011, however, federal taxes aren't due April 15. They're due April 18. It's because of a combination of holiday, calendars, and tax law. The change centers on Emancipation Day. Emancipation Day is a public celebration in the District of Columbia. Named a holiday in 2005, Emancipation Day honors President Abraham Lincoln's April 16, 1862 signing of the Compensation Emancipation Act.   Emancipation Day is a non-working day in the nation's capitol but, this year, Emancipation Day falls on a Saturday. The municipality will observe the holiday Friday instead. This means that all of Washington, D.C. will be ...
Comments 0